Cris Ritchie — Editor
October 8, 2013
HAZARD—The defense attorney representing a Perry County man charged with murder and currently awaiting a new trial date has requested records relating to another man he claims may have been the real perpetrator.
Brent Flowers is serving as the attorney for 45–year-old Adrain Banks, who was indicted last year in connection with the stabbing death of Jerry Combs at Combs’s residence in the Allais community on August 4, 2012.
Flowers appeared in court on Sept. 26 to argue a motion requesting several items of discovery, including records from a 1995 criminal case in which a neighbor of Combs’s was convicted of manslaughter in Perry County. According to Flowers, the defendant in that case should be considered a suspect in the investigation into Combs’s death.
“We feel that he is a suspect and he could potentially be the actual murderer in this case, and in fact the state police at one time considered him a suspect, took his DNA, took his blood sample, and took fingerprints from him,” Flowers said.
Flowers also requested any records relating to a fatal mobile home fire in the Allais community on Jan. 22 in which one person was killed. Flowers said the victim in that fire, Jo Ann Caskey, was a witness in Adrain Banks’ case and lived beside Jerry Combs.
“Additionally, the fact that she was the victim’s sister makes it likely that she would have remained active in the case and probably testified at trial,” Flowers wrote in his motion, filed in the circuit clerk’s office on Sept. 18. “Therefore, it is necessary for Mr. Banks to obtain more information about the manner of her death to determine whether or not it was truly accidental.”
Additionally, Flowers requested a photograph of a bloody footprint along with results of any testing on the footprint, noting that the photograph could potentially prove Banks’ innocence.
According to statements made in court by Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Josh Mullins on Sept. 26, the individual Flowers referred to as being a viable perpetrator in Combs’s death was a person of interest at one point during the investigation, but also was cleared by police of any involvement. It was also determined, he added, the bloody footprint Flowers referenced was made by emergency personnel responding to the scene when Combs was stabbed.
Commonwealth’s Attorney John Hansen added this week there is no doubt the grand jury indicted the correct person.
“We will stand with the police investigation into this matter,” Hansen said. “We have not seen anything to contradict that stance. There’s no reason to decide otherwise.”
Adrain Banks has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, but has yet to make a court appearance in person. He was held for a time at the state penitentiary in La Grange, Ky., due to injuries he sustained stemming from a shot to his head prior to being detained in September 2012. According to news reports at the time, Banks suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, though Flowers contests those reports.
“There were no witnesses to that,” Flowers said. “The police had no contact with him after that shooting. We know that he was injured and taken to the hospital, but I would strenuously deny any characterization that this was a suicide attempt.”
Banks was set to go on trial this year, though that date was cancelled last month while attorneys prepare for a hearing to determine his competency. His next court date is set for Nov. 7.